In response to the leaked transcripts of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s call with US President Trump in January 2017, Amnesty International Australia’s Refugee Coordinator Graham Thom said:
“The conversation makes it clear that Prime Minister Turnbull is rolling the dice with people’s lives and mental health.
“Even more shameful is Turnbull’s admission that the US need not take these innocent people, only that the US is obliged to ‘go through the process’ of vetting them. This shows a complete disregard for these people, and begs the question of what exactly does the Australian Government plan to do with them? And when will they be finally allowed to rebuild their lives in safety?
“The people on Nauru and Manus Island have already suffered enough at the hands of the Australian Government’s abusive policies. It’s even clearer now that our government has no plan at all for them and it is simply whittling away people’s lives and mental health.
“Amnesty International welcomed the news of the US resettling these vulnerable refugees as part of its refugee admissions program and, for the sake of those still living in horrid conditions on Nauru and Manus Island, we are urging the US to take as many refugees as possible.
“But regardless of this, the US refugees intake is closed until October, and it is unclear how long it will take until people could be resettled there from the camps. What needs to happen now is for the camps to be evacuated immediately and people be brought here to safety in Australia.”